Sunday, August 26, 2012

music and silence

Music and silence arise from each other. They frame each other in the listening, the sharing, the creation, the performance. Think of the moments in between songs or tunes or orchestral movements. They form as much a part of the music as does the unfolding story of the notes and words.

There is music that calls directly on that aspect of framing silence, as well.

Tony Duncan’s music lends itself to that idea. On his album Earth Warrior: Light of Our Ancestors he performs songs which honor his family, his tribal heritage (he is of Apache/Mandan/Arikara/Hidatsa peoples), the landscapes of their history and his own, and the connections of all of these things with music. native american flute tony duncanDuncan’s instrument is the Native American flute, an instrument he first began to learn from his father. Through traditional pieces including Zuni Sunrise, Taos Round Dance, and Going Home and his own stories in song including Battle for Night, Ancient Stories, Grandmother Moon, and The Flicker of Light, Duncan both invites and guides contemplation of landscape, story. sound, and silence.

So does Padraigin Ni Uallachain, though she comes for a very different set of landscapes and music tradition. The wellspring of her music for Songs of the Scribe is the poetry of ancient Ireland. She chooses not the great epic stories, compelling as they may be, but rather the marginal notes, the asides, the personal poetry of those scribes who created illuminated manuscripts, and at times left marginal notes which illuminated their own lives as well. Longing for a lost love, a reflection that the wild winds of an Irish night mean that the writer is safe from Viking attacks for these hours, the flight of a blackbird across the water,irealnd music songs scribe a hermit's praise to God, a quiet time with a companionable cat: all these are things which caught poets’ imaginations and catch Ni Uallachain's, as well, as she creates contemplative settings of these words though her voice and spare accompaniment of drone, bells, harp, and Tibetan bowl.

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rest in music
music, silence, and spiritual journey

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